[Avodah] economy101

Arie Folger arie.folger at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 06:07:07 PST 2013

R' Eli Turkel wrote:
> Western society has learned over the years that price fixing never
> works. In Israel when bread products were price controlled it was
> found thatpeople used bread for many other things simply because
> bread was cheaperthan other alternatives because its price was fixed.
> So I again come back to my original question that the takanah of
> Shmuel goes against basic economic in a modern capatalistic society.
> Drug companies charge a lot because they investigate many options
> 99% of which don't work. Accordingly this would not be an accepted
> expense since it is not directly connected to the drug one buys. I
> would hope that all the testing done for this drug can be included.

Yours is a very one sided view. The question of whether there are staples
for which price fixing is called for, is very complex. The French live
longer than Americans, have medicine more readily available, despite
spending significantly less. Same for the Swiss, which is a major producer
of brand name medicine.

Arguably, the market for medicine is rather asymetrical (when you need
antibiotics, you don't really haggle, when you need anestesia, you
definitely don't haggle). Likewise, maximum prices for staples are widely
used in the Western world. Of course, any time you interfere in the
market,s there are unintended consequences, but they are often worthwhile
to pay.

> So a general question is that the are many economic takanot that no
> longer make economic sense in a modern society. Would a Torah
> society still follow these takanot?

Pitchei Choshen cites poskim who say no, we need takanot that are
appropriate for here and now, and are not required to keep those from a
very different society. This is probably a din unique to dinei memonot.

Kol tuv,

mit freundlichen Grüßen,
with kind regards,
Arie Folger

visit my blog at http://ariefolger.wordpress.com/
sent from my mobile device
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